Re: Resumes/Interviewing

Subject: Re: Resumes/Interviewing
From: "Lydia Wong" <lydiaw -at- fpoint -dot- com>
To: <Tothscribe -at- aol -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 14:16:48 -0500

Nea asked about the following resume layout:

> Page 1
> -- General list of software used
> -- List of documents written
> ("CorpTool User Guide for XX Corporation")
> -- List of other skills, broken out by category
> (classes taken, classes taught, whatever)
> Page 2
> Chronological list of companies worked for, in this format:
> 1/1/88 - 9/9/99
> XX Corporation
> Street Address, Phone #
> software used: MS Word, Quark XPress, CorpTool

My response:

Well, maybe I'm just too traditional, but I like to see things combined
within the resume. By breaking out the tools and the documents you've
created, as you suggest, when I look over your resume, I have to match up
your lists with each other, like one of those kids' games where you match up
stuff in different lists.

I really prefer (and this is obviously a personal opinion, though I'll tell
you why I have this preference) to see the "old-fashioned" approach listing
your contact info. at the top (please give an e-mail address!), then your
experience, then your education, and then any additional information.

The reason I like this is as I look over your resume, I can ask "what has
Nea done?" Then I can see that you were at XYZ Corporation for 3 years, and
while you were there, you wrote four user's guides for their software, and
you used FrameMaker to produce those docs. Then I can follow down through
your experience section and see where your work has led you. (It's okay if
there are gaps and stuff; just account for them in some way.)

If you don't provide the information this way, I find myself trying to put
it together, as with your suggested organization, where I'd see Nea used
this and such tool. Then I'd see you created this document. Then I could
hunt in your experience list to see the corporation, and then mentally put
it all together. A lot of work!

Finally, I was a contractor myself once, and I really distrust those lists
of tools people put on their resumes. (I know what the contracting company I
worked for put on my list! Wish I had really *known* all those tools!). I
guess I'm just jaded, but as I stated in my original post, if you list that
you know such and such tool, but don't provide any context, I don't know if
you spent four hours going through a tutorial, or four years actually using
the tool. (Yes, your lists get around this, Nea, but I still have to put it
all together to verify how much you've actually used the pertinent tools.)

I have to qualify all this though by saying I work for a small company, and
we don't have a HR department pre-screening our applicants' resumes. Larger
companies might love the various lists you suggest, because then the HR
people can just pick out whether you've got the right things on the list.
However, speaking as a writer who has input on hiring decisions and does
screen resumes, I prefer a cohesive resume that tells me your "story," not
lists I have to put together.

One big exception to this is if you're a consultant/contractor. Then your
suggested arrangement, Nea, makes a lot more sense to me, because a simple
"time-line" approach becomes too complicated.

Just my 0.02!

Lydia Wong
Technical Writer
FarPoint Technologies, Inc.

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